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Touch the Sky: Four Classic Carole King Albums Reissued

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When Carole King left Lou Adler’s Ode Records, the label that guided her in the transition from urban Brill Building queen to singer/songwriter/earth mother, it marked the end of an era.  And how would the Tapestry weaver top the two distinct periods that had come before?  King signed to Hollywood’s venerable Capitol Records label, and the title of her first LP for the label said it all: Simple Things.  King’s final Ode LP, 1976’s Thoroughbred, had emphasized a return to nature in its cover photo of the singer on a horse, and Simple Things would be a back-to-basics album.  Yet only one of the four long players recorded by King at Capitol between 1977 and 1980 has ever been domestically released on CD, 1980’s Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King.  That’s about to change, however.  King herself is finally bringing her lost LPs to light via Concord Records and her own Rockingale imprint.  February 28 will see the release of Simple Things (1977), Welcome Home (1978), Touch the Sky (1979) and the aforementioned Pearls.  (King has had a long relationship with Concord, with past releases including The Living Room Tour and with James Taylor, Live at the Troubadour.)

The Capitol era is marked by King’s retreat from the rapidly-changing environs of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon for the greener pastures of Idaho.  King had fallen in love with Rick Evers, a leather worker and musician who introduced her to the state she would call home for more than a decade.  Evers, battling a heroin addiction against which King felt powerless, was a major collaborator on the first two Capitol albums.  King told The New York Times in 1984, “Rick wasn’t disciplined enough to stay with anything long enough to pursue it to career success.  I felt helpless watching him be caught up in the Los Angeles drug scene, but I eventually had to accept that it was karma, for lack of a better word.  Even though I was not involved in the drug scene myself, I too felt I was in danger of being done in by L.A.  And because I’m a survivor, I got out in time.  The ending, tragic as it was, was also a beginning.  I took three of my children and went back to Idaho, and built a new life.”  Evers, King’s third husband, succumbed to his addictions in 1978, and King later married rancher Rick Sorensen, though that marriage ended in divorce.

Hit the jump for all the details on this Carole quartet, including pre-order links and track listings with discography!

Simple Things, with its joint King/Evers compositions, featured King’s six-piece band, Navarro: guitarists Rob McEntee and Mark Hallman, bassist Rob Galloway, drummer Michael Wooten, percussionist Miguel Rivera and flutist/saxophonist Richard Hardy.  They immediately brought a new, more rough-hewn sound to King’s songs, whether the optimistic title track or the infectious “Hard Rock Café.”  Welcome Home took the stylistic experimentation further, with King and Navarro putting a spin on the dance floor (“Disco Tech”) and even cosmic psychedelia (“Venusian Diamond”).  “Sun Bird” captured the album’s pastoral essence.  Evers appears prominently on the homespun album cover.  For Touch the Sky, King travelled to Austin, Texas, with Hallman, Hardy and Rivera from Navarro, as well as members of Jerry Jeff Walker’s band.  King even returned to her familiar acoustic piano setting for the beautiful “Time Gone By” and “You Still Want Her.”  King’s final Capitol album, Pearls, revisited the Brill Building songbook co-written with Gerry Goffin, and scored a hit single with a modernized version of “One Fine Day,” originally introduced by The Chiffons.  King also took on “Oh, No, Not My Baby,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Chains” and “Hey, Girl,” all of which have stood the test of time to this very day.

Pearls was paired with Time Gone By, an overview of the Capitol period, on a now out-of-print CD, and recently appeared on a Rockbeat Records CD, as well.  (All of the Capitol titles were previously available only on CD in Japan.)  Each title promises to include the original photography and notes; there’s no word on new liner notes.  No bonus tracks have been added to the original line-ups.  All four albums arrive in stores from Rockingale and Concord on February 28, and you can find pre-order links below!

Carole King, Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King (Capitol 12073, 1980 – reissued Rockingale/Capitol, 2012)

  1. Dancin’ with Tears in My Eyes
  2. The Loco-Motion
  3. One Fine Day
  4. Hey Girl
  5. Snow Queen
  6. Chains
  7. Oh No, Not My Baby
  8. Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)
  9. Wasn’t Born to Follow
  10. Goin’ Back

All songs written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

Carole King, Simple Things (Capitol LP 11667, 1977 – reissued Rockingale/Concord, 2012)

  1. Simple  Things (King, Rick Evers)
  2. Hold On (King, Evers)
  3. In the Name of Love
  4. Labyrinth
  5. You’re the One Who Knows
  6. Hard Rock Cafe
  7. Time Alone
  8. God Only Knows
  9. To Know That I Love You (King, Evers)
  10. One

All songs written by Carole King unless otherwise indicated.

Carole King, Touch the Sky (Capitol LP 11953, 1979 – reissued Rockingale/Concord, 2012)

  1. Time Gone By
  2. Move Lightly
  3. Dreamlike I Wander
  4. Walk With Me
  5. Good  Mountain People
  6. You Still Want Her
  7. Passing of the Days
  8. Crazy
  9. Eagle
  10. Seeing Red

All songs written by Carole King.

Carole King, Welcome Home (Capitol LP 11785, 1979 – reissued Rockingale/Concord, 2012)

  1. Main  Street Saturday Night
  2. Sunbird (King, Rick Evers)
  3. Venusian Diamond (King, Evers, Mark Hallman, Robert McEntee, Robb Galloway, Miguel      Rivera, Richard Hardy, Michael Wooten)
  4. Changes
  5. Morning Sun
  6. Disco Tech (King, Hallman, McEntee, Galloway, Rivera, Wooten, Hardy)
  7. Wings of Love (King, Evers)
  8. Ride the Music
  9. Everybody’s Got the Spirit
  10. Welcome Home

All songs written by Carole King unless otherwise indicated.

Written by Joe Marchese

February 8, 2012 at 08:08

Posted in Carole King, News, Reissues

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